Make A Truce Or Lie.
Ejiofor’s first major motion picture as a director is admirable, and just admirable, nothing beyond that. This biography has every ingredient that it should have, it breathes productive yet cliched method. It has everything you aspire and everything it ought to have, from a three part act to one dimensional characters that works as mere pawns. It is not groundbreaking in whatsoever form. Chiwetel Ejiofor is neither Bradley Cooper nor Kevin Costner while telling a story, primarily because there is no conviction in his speech. It is almost as if he doesn’t believe in this tale. He craves for big dramatic antics but when it finally hits, he hides away inside a closet.
Never in the film, does the filmmaker takes charge of it. Still, considering it as a debut, he has done a great work on stabilizing the film and keeping the tone persistent. The only part where he gets you for a brief period, is in its latter stages where everything crumbles down to nothing. The family and everyone we had been rooting for, gets cornered brutally with hard facts and poignant practicality of the society they live around.
I would like to think it is the work of brilliant cast rather than narration. This marvelous cast exploring and guiding us through their ancient rituals and culture through a new language; for the audience, pouring all the heart there is in it. Ejiofor maybe on the lead, but he doesn’t steal others thunder. He gives each character their stand alone moments to pitch in on the narration. And him balancing on the wrong side of the door, and accepting his flawed deeds, he is more powerful when he goes awry.
These are the scenes to look out for, when he completely loses all his strained out and bottled up anger on his son played beautifully by Maxwell Simba, who is equally challenging to him when they strike horns on screen. Simba seems natural and probably that is why comes off as the most profound and promising among all. Aforementioned, the rift between a father and son, foliated by these cast is a delight to watch. But personally, I would lean for Ejiofor, for the rest of the act, he has to express innocence and vulnerability in its adequacy or inadequacy as a father.
And he expresses that beautifully on screen. At the end of the line, if you are feeling for someone, it is for every man himself. The cast that plays the family too, gets to swing the bat, and when the mother hits her daughter as a rightful and explanatory context, there is a cathartic silence on the screen, that would be hard but overwhelming to swallow. The only thing itching in this film, is the flow of the narration, there is nothing unnecessary in here to scoff off, but a better build up to each scene would have electrified the drama to a whole new level, where it would be easy for The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.